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Posts Tagged ‘ILS’

Evergreen: Brief Review of 2009

As 2009 comes to a close, I’m in the thick of Phase 2 of our migration to Evergreen. Migrations feel very…introverted. My nose is an inch from the ground and I’m focused on transferring our data. It has been a while since I looked up and considered how far Evergreen has come in one year.

One year ago, Evergreen was still at version 1.2.x, with 1.4.0.0 still a month or so away. Since then, there have been two major releases: 1.4.x, which hit the downloads page in early 2009; then 1.6.0.0, which landed this past November. Each introduced many new features. Perhaps seasoned Evergreen veterans at places like Georgia PINES are used to this rate of progress, but for me, who’s first real experience with Evergreen came only about a year ago, it’s pretty staggering.

To give one small example, our Evergreen site went from having no Z39.50 server (April 2009), to a Z39.50 (and SRU!) server without holdings info (May 2009), to a Z39.50/SRU server that includes holdings and can be very easily scoped to provide “databases” for each of our locations (November 2009). All that in about the span of 8 months. Where once there was a lack of functionality, we now have something better than we had with our previous ILS.

That’s not to say that Evergreen is perfect or fully complete yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done and new features to implement. However, I’m encouraged by the growing community that’s developing. It’s still relatively small and the major patches still come from the primary developers, but new code, patches, and translations are starting to come from outside of Equinox. That’s been acknowledged in some way by the developer meetings on IRC that have begun to take place periodically, where some core and non-core developers get together and hash out the development issues of the day. The use of LaunchPad as a public tool for bug reporting and translations has also helped lower barriers to participation. (That said, Equinox has grown a lot this year and their rate of progress on many big ticket features has consequently increased).

The first Evergreen International Conference was held in 2009 and looks set to become an annual event. Most notably, the inaugural conference helped launch the Documentation Interest Group (DIG), and the DIGgers are currently busy organizing the existing community documentation and getting ready to write up the missing pieces. The next Evergreen International Conference is coming in April 2010.

And, of course, many new libraries migrated to Evergreen in 2009, with others already planning their migrations for 2010. Should be an interesting year ahead.

Happy New Year!

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Randy Dykhuis has an article in this month’s Collaborative Librarianship in which he discusses the history of the Michigan Library Consortium’s move to Evergreen (full text[PDF]). From the abstract:

“In 2008, seven Michigan public libraries migrated to Evergreen, an open source integrated library system developed by the Georgia Public Library Service. The Michigan Library Consortium and Grand Rapids Public Library provided the support, training, networking, and system administration for the system. This article examines the reasons for implementing an open source system and the challenges to running and sustaining it.”
An interesting read, particularly as I have just finished my first week working as a Systems Librarian at a library that recently migrated to Evergreen.

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Evergreen 1.4.0.2 Available

The Evergreen developers have just announced that version 1.4.0.2 has been released, along with OpenSRF 1.0.4. From the announcement:

This release adds functionality, configuration, and usability
improvements including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Improved administrative interfaces for defining organizations and permissions
  • Internationalization and localization (Armenian (hy-AM), Canadian French (fr-CA), Canadian English (en-CA), and Czech (cs-CZ))
  • Multi-source Z39.50 search for staff
  • Pre-overdue (reminder) notices
  • SRU/Z39.50 server
  • Publication date filtering in advanced search
  • Preferred-language setting at both system and organizational level for search results
  • Web-based batch record importer/exporter

Happily, this comes just in time for my Reading Week…

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Given that I’ve been poking through the Evergreen source code in recent days and having a look at some OPACs that are using it, I figured that I’d see what the Koha OPAC looked like. Being a bit clumsy, I mistyped my search string and managed to get an unfriendly error screen in Koha that could be avoided with some simple input checking. By comparison, Evergreen seems to do a better job at checking for user stupidity. Here are some screenshots, below the cut (click on images for a larger view).

(more…)

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